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7 things we learnt building the sugru Rainbow Gatling Water Pistol

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We love testing the limits of what sugru can do.

Our engineering and material teams are always cooking up new ways to flex, stick and stretch sugru, to test just how much it can take. They doggedly pursue excellence, care deeply about every last detail.

Then it gets hot outside and they start dreaming about water pistols!

Which got us thinking. With all this sugru, and these amazing people, could we create the coolest water pistol ever?

Now, while we take our work very seriously here at sugru, we don’t see the harm in having a little fun while we do it. In fact it’s kind of in our DNA — ‘sugru’ was inspired by the Irish word for ‘play’ (and it’s still our most important ingredient)

Take a look at our beautiful new video to see the sugru rainbow gatling gun in action!

We've put together guides to show you 7 great sugru ideas that we used while making the water pistol. We hope some of them are useful to integrate into for your own projects! We're looking forward to hearing what you think :)

Need to stock up on some sugru? You can buy online from us.

 
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Step 1: Create your own sugru pistons

Why use sugru for this?

- elastic properties

- almost zero shrinkage

What you will need

- a length of PVC pipe

- sugru (we used 2 same colour, 1 different)

- a saw

- a vice

- a hammer

- a carving tool

- a cup of soapy water

Steps

1 - place the PVC in the vice and saw off the length needed (we used ~2.5cm)

2 - use your fingers to wet the surface of your workspace with a little soapy water (it prevents sugru sticking to the surface)

3 - open 2 minipacks of sugru and squidge them together (we used the same colour) Then push the sugru into the cut piece of pipe until it fills it completely.

4 - Leave to cure for 24 hours

5 - When the sugru is cured, place the piece into your vice lengthways and make an incision in the pipe to weaken it.

TIP - take care not to cut into the sugru inside.

6 - using your hammer, hit the pipe on the weak point you have created to break it apart. You will be left with just a cylinder of sugru.

7 - Use your carving tool to remove a little sugru from each end - this helps to make the piston more squishy!

8 - Carve out a ring around the circumference of the piece of sugru

9 - Open the third minipack of sugru and roll it into a small sausage. Apply this to the carved indent around the centre.

10 - Make sure the sugru around the centre is slightly wider than the piston itself. Leave for 24 hours.

11 - Once cured, dip the piston in soapy water and you've got a your own sugru piston!

Step 2: Build a sugru injector

Why use sugru for this?

- elastic properties allow it to be compressed as needed

- almost zero shrinkage

- can be drilled once cured

- bonds to most materials

For this you will need

- sugru (we used one minipack for this)

- scalpel

- bendable plastic pipe / hose

- a stick or something that fits inside the pipe (for pushing the sugru in)

- x2 metal collars

- screwdriver

Steps

1 - with your scalpel, cut a piece of plastic pipe to the length needed (ours was 4cm long)

2 - open a minipack of sugru and squidge between your fingers a little bit (enjoy that feeling!)

3 - roll the sugru into a long thin sugru sausage

4 - insert the sugru into the pipe with the help of your stick, push it from both ends making sure the sugru sits in the centre with a margin of 1cm on both ends of the pipe. Leave to cure for 24 hours.

5 - once cured, drill a hole through the centre of the sugru to the size you require.

6 - make sure you have a clear hole through the whole piece of sugru.

7 - wrap the metal collars around the outside of the centre of the pipe, where the sugru is.

There you go! your very own sugru injector mechanism.

Step 3: Insulate switches with sugru

Why use sugru for this?

- electrically insulating

- bonds to most materials

- easy to mould

What you will need

- sugru (we used one minipack for this)

- some blu tac

- cables

- soldering iron and solder wire

Steps

1 - Use the blue tac to hold the cables you are using in place.

2 - Preheat and solder each of the wires in place

3 - Make sure the connection of the wires is secure

4 - take a pinch of sugru and start covering the soldered parts

5 - shape and flatten the sugru around the parts

6 - leave to sure for 24 hours

Step 4: Connect tube & pipes with sugru

Why use sugru for this?

- strong and durable properties

- bonds to most materials

- water resistant

- sugru can resist high pressures

What you will need

- choose the pipes you need

- sugru - sugru (we used one minipack for this)

- pipe reducers in the size you need them

Steps

1 - lay out the piece you will need

2 - connect the tubes using the pipe reducers

3 - open your sugru pack and squidge!

4 - apply the sugru to the join

5 - ensure the sugru extends beyond the joint, to provide extra structural support

6 - smoothen the sugru and leave to cure for 24 hours

Step 5: Design a custom sugru grip

Why use sugru for this?

- hand mouldable so you can create personalised grips

- bonds to most materials

- strong and durable

- ability to add texture to increase grip

What you will need

- between 4-5 minipacks, depending on the size of the handle you are using. Work with one minipack at a time and open new ones as needed.

- the handle of your choice!

Steps

1 - open a minipack of sugru and squidge it a little to soften it up

2 - start at the bottom of the handle, applying the sugru in patches.

TIP - sugru bonds great to itself. Check out sugru.com/tips for12 short videos to help with your sugru skills

3 - Continue to cover the handle bit by bit, ensuring that the sugru joins up and covers the surface fully.

4 - Work your way to the top

5 - Once the handle is fully covered, you can give the sugru more texture by imprinting another material onto it. We used the strap from a backpack, but why not get creative? We've seen people using a sponge, a toothbrush, even an orange!

6 - Before the sugru starts curing (you've got 30mins from opening the minipack) grip the handle to make a personalised grip.

Step 6: Shield sharp edges with sugru

Why use sugru for this?

- bonds to most materials

- strong and durable

- hand mouldable

- dampening properties

What you will need

- just need sugru (we only needed half a minipack to protect each tube)

Steps

1 - Open your pack of sugru and squish

2 - Remove half of the sugru and roll into 2 balls of equal size

3 - Apply the sugru to the sharp edges of the plate

4 - Shape and flatten the sugru to ensure the pipe fits

5 - Leave to cure for 6 hours

6 - check that the pipe fits the new sugru-ed socket

TIP: If you apply to much sugru, it can be cut with a scalpel once cured. If you haven't applied enough, sugru bonds great to itself, so just add another layer as needed.

Check out sugru.com/tips for 12 short videos to help with your sugru skills

Step 7: Secure loose parts with sugru

Why use sugru for this?

- bonds to most materials

- strong and durable

- hand mouldable

What you will need

- sugru (we used one pack here)

- soapy water

Steps

1 - Before opening your minipack of sugru, ensure the surface you are applying sugru to is clean and dry.

2 - Apply half a minipack of sugru to the disc, attach the pipe on top and press down.

3 - Roll the remaining sugru into a sausage and apply around the top of the pipe.

4 - Pinch the sugru and pipe all around to ensure a strong bond

5 - Using soapy water, use your fingers to smoothen the sugru

6 - Leave for 24 hours

Step 8: DXF and PDF files for laser cut parts

This water pistol was an epic build (we're talking 60 hours and sleepless nights) and we didn't document the entire process (oops!)

For those that are interested in actually building this beast - these are our DXF files - they will serve as a template for laser cutting the various parts of the project (with PDF versions also as they are quicker to preview - they show the positioning of the parts in isometric projection and side view)

Scale on these files is 1:1. Aluminium parts thickness is 4mm. Stainless steel parts thickness is 3mm)

For the engineers among you, this should give you a great starting point.

NOTE: we built this pistol in the UK so all the holes in the drawings are for standard metric plumbing parts available here - these will be different in the USA.

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If people are upset because there are no actual instructions with this "ible", I can get the ball rolling:

STEP ONE: Buy lots and lots and lots and lots of Sugru.

STEP TWO: When you run out of Sugru, buy lots and lots and lots more.

Next?

This is an abuse of Instructables.

This should be taken down.

It is nothing but pure advertising.

There are no instructions or plans in this instructable for building the featured water pistol.

projectsugru (author)  ElectroFrank19 days ago

Hi ElectroFrank, we are long time members of the Instructables community and a small team of makers here. We are in no way trying to abuse the instructables platform (that we love) in any way. These were genuine learnings from our recent project, that we hope people will find useful to integrate into their own projects. The water pistol build was pretty epic, we're talking +60 hours in under 2 weeks and we didn't document the full process (oops!). But we have now uploaded DXF files which we hope will help.

Hi Projectsugru, Thanks for your reply. I am sure Sugru is a wonderful product, particularly for the Instructables community, and it is good to document its usefulness and new ways of using it. But a company recommending its own product on a public site needs to be careful in how its material is put across. Perhaps you should "beta test" your articles on a neutral person to check whether they are crossing a (rather vaguely drawn) line in the sand.

I do intend to buy a good sized pack of some Sugru one day, for much experimentation and many purposes, but not until the price comes down and the shelf life problem has been solved. (2 part compound ? Different catalyst ? UV ?)

I've been wondering where I might be able to find some "neutral persons". I can think of all kinds of applications for a repositiory of "neutral persons" in political disputes, product testing, internet arguments, and pH monitoring.

They are notoriously crafty at hiding from all of us opinionated, contentious people.

Same thing......Its an advertising spam !!! waste of serve's space and readers time

projectsugru (author)  agis6819 days ago

hi agis68, we're sorry you think that. We shared believing it would be useful for people in the community to integrate into their own maker projects.

I was thinking the same thing.... I see no blueprints or plans on how to create the project, but simply how to use a product you can purchase to build something similar. If they would have given a full detailed set of instructions on actually building it, and not just what the over priced product they are selling can do, then it would have been fine. I second the removal of this instructable.

projectsugru (author)  RocketPenguin19 days ago

Hi Nicola, we have now added the DXF files that we have in step 8. But as the build was over +60 and done in a very short space of time, we didn't have chance to document the entire build process. We are a small team of makers here at sugru and the project was to help us learn more about sugru's properties and what it was capable of. We genuinely learnt a lot about sugru here and think that these 7 things will be of interest to the community.

PLEASE SAY YOU ARE HIRING

This is awesome!

thanks so much, we had a blast creating it :) you can read the full story of how we came to make it here http://sugru.com/blog/the-story-of-the-sugru-water-pistol

I figured I could add some constructive feedback here as an avid reader of instructables (not to mention newly a writer!) and regular sugru user:

The build is truly awesome! Both the engineering and the look of it are great and clearly it is a fun toy to play with too.

I think a lot of people got shirty as like me they clicked on a link in the instructables digest email with picture and title suggesting they would see how they could make this, and got through to a 'why we think our product is good' page; you can see the potential for disappointment. That said you have amended the title to be less misleading so good on you:)

If you wanted to make an instructable that the instructable community would enjoy much more (and possibly achieve your marketing on the side) making it much more like your blog post would at least give the insight into the development and how it works that we all crave.

Better still documenting the build retrospectively (this bit <closeup> was made like this) would result in a lot of your target audience being very excited by it.

I hope that helps.

ihart19 days ago

I flagged this as incomplete. There is no information in here on how to actually build anything. In it's current form, this is pure advertisement. What is the switch for? What do the pipes connect to?

projectsugru (author)  ihart19 days ago

hi ihart as the build was fairly epic (we're talking +60 hours in a v short space of time) we didn't document the full build process (oops!) but have added the DXF files that we have in step 8.

Hi Sugru company. I see that you keep repeating that you spent 60 hours making your device. I spent 6 months preparing, testing and documenting my last instructable. I had the goal of making my device repeatable to this community.

There are many who look at what you have done as just showing how people who buy your product can use it. That's called an advertisement. Since Instructables chose to feature it in the newsletter, they are partly at fault as well here and thus all the negative comments you are receiving.

How about taking the Instructable down, documenting how we can all make a cool water pistol from start to finish and then re-posting it??

camlockhart19 days ago

So sad to see that this was in the "10 best projects of June" email. I question the excuse that SUGRU didn't have time to document their build process. They had plenty of time to document the many uses of their project. And the DXF files are nice, but not a complete set of build instructions. I would have been cool with using Instructables as a way to communicate the uses of this product; if it was done as part of a project that enriched the community. This so called instructable just tries to sell a product, one I might have used before seeing this misuse of instructables.

damianzuch20 days ago
i guess if it's a matter of perogatives I'd have to agree with many of the comments; i felt like I was reading an ad for SUGRU and it somehow felt like it was encroaching on the community/share aspect that i like so much about Instructables. i'd love to see an instructable about the actual build (that's why i clicked on it - it looks awesome!) and i like the idea of SUGRU (although I've not yet used it). it would be a bummer if Instructables eventually turns into yet another site for advertising stuff, i'm really drawn to it in it's current form
projectsugru (author)  damianzuch19 days ago

hi daianzuch, thanks for the feedback. The build of the water pistol was pretty epic, over 60 hours in a short space of time. We didn't document the full build but we have uploaded the DXF files that we have in step 8. The content we have shared here was genuine learning from the build. Our hope is that the ideas are useful for people to include in their own projects. We have posted loads of other Ible's and hope that you can see that we try our best to make content that adds value. We're glad you liked the water pistol :)

Give them some constructive feedback. What would make this more reproducible and less spammy feeling?

You're likely squarely in their demographic crosshairs, and alienating guys like you is probably not their goal.

Howdy sugru, howdy disgruntled users. I agree that the title of this article is misleading, as there are not adequate instructions to construct a rainbow gatling water pistol here. I suggest a title change for this article to "7 ways to use sugru!" or something similar, to reflect the true content of the article. apart from that, this article does indeed place commercial advertising interests above educational interests.

projectsugru (author)  jamesblynch1419 days ago

Hi jamesblynch14 thank you for the suggestion. We've now amended the title of the 'ible to relfect the content better and uploaded the DXF files that we have of the design.

Timeout though, the other instructables by project sugru are really good, very educational. I want one like them for the real gatling gun instructable

jchavis220 days ago

I didn't understand just how to build the gatling gun. It just looked like an instructable on how to use Sugru.

projectsugru (author)  jchavis219 days ago

Hi jchavis2 the build was actually epic! we're talking +60 hours in a v short time. We didn't document the entire build (our bad) but we have shared what we have in additional step 8.

Benjaay99919 days ago

Sick! And one of the guys who made it (if not both) are English!

wilgubeast21 days ago

Welp, you know you made a cool project when it's all staff comments off the bat.

That's absolutely fantastic! Hopefully it represents the next step in your hard steer into advertiser-generated, community-based content. This is really really cool, and I know it probably took some doing on your end to carve out the time and budget to pull off something so complex. You guys rock.

So has anyone bothered to ask the community of actual users if they think "advertiser-generated, community-based content." is "cool".? Judging from some of the (non staff) comments above I don't think so. But maybe I missed that memo.

Full disclosure: I work for Instructables and have tangentially worked with Sugru in the past. Nothing presently, though.

I saw a cool project after my friends at work emailed it to me. I liked it. I commented accordingly. 150+ people have favorited this project. 15,000+ have taken a look. I am not alone in appreciating this, nor alone in thinking that it's cool. (Nor should I have to defend my opinion, but since you're probably not alone in wondering...)

This wasn't a sponsored post. Instructables has not, as far as I know, ever asked Sugru to make us custom content. Nobody from Sugru asked us to take the Oogoo references out of the comments. This, to me, is hardly different from ladyada's Instructables projects, Mrballeng's projects, or anyone else who built a business and used Instructables to promote it by creating replicable projects that contain more instructional value than marketing nonsense.

If you disagree on the "instructional value > marketing value" point for this project, that's your prerogative.

I am aware that you work for Instructables. I asked a simple question based on your comment. I never mentioned Sugru.

projectsugru (author)  wilgubeast21 days ago

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean a lot to the whole of team sugru. We're super proud of the project. We can't wait to see people copy, share and improve on these ideas :)

yio20 days ago

Uninteresting hype for 5uggrü.

Kaiven20 days ago

Almost zero shrinkage? I want to see someone make a pneumatic or hybrid cannon using some of this as a piston! Maybe I'll try it in the future...

Halfdead21 days ago

Why would I pay outrageous prices for your product when readily available and inexpensive alternatives exist?

what alternative? oogoo? oogoo is quite diffrent than sugru

It is harder, but epoxy putty does a lot of the same stuff. It wouldn't
have as soft of a grip, but epoxy putty is only $5 per 4 oz stick at the
hardware store.

Is it? Different recepture, same properties. Only a bit stickier, depends on starch to silicone ratio.

Please elaborate :)

AJMansfield20 days ago

Though nothing really beats a blowtorch and some solder, at least for this part.

Awesome for a Super Soaker Nerf war!
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